Whoever said accountants can’t be creative hasn’t heard of Francois Wahl. Wahl is a CA(SA) who also has a passion for film making and the arts. Seeing himself as a true creative, he has established an accounting company which specialises in advising artists and creatives.
His accounting firm, Intersection Studios, offers monthly accounting and tax advice to those working in creative industries at an affordable rates. As he himself is a filmmaker, he understands the unique needs of creative businesses. He believes that every business needs a solid financial foundation, and therefore urges those working in the arts to position their businesses as viable operations. Wahl and the CAs working at his firm are described as CFOs (Chief Creative Financial Officers).
“Being a creative myself, I choose to work with clients who are artists and creatives themselves. They need an accountant who can understand their needs and support their growing businesses at minimal fees,” he insists.
As a filmmaker, Wahl earlier this year directed a documentary entitled: “Doc-U-Mentally: Last Doctors Standing”, which looks at the gruelling hours worked by junior doctors and the effects that working these hours has on them – something he has experienced first-hand, being married to a doctor himself, as well as having a number of family members within the medical profession. In fact, it was his personal experience that inspired him to begin filming in May this year.
Earlier this year, the impossibly long hours worked by junior doctors came under the spotlight, with the tragic death of a junior doctor in Paarl, who is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel of her car after working a particularly long shift. This was followed by an announcement from the Western Cape Health Department that it would cut the hours of its shifts.
Wahl’s film is set predominantly in Nhwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, Kwa-Zulu Natal and features the lives of a group of doctors from different backgrounds working in the paediatric, trauma, emergency and surgical units. It’s a glimpse into the lives of these dedicated people and the traumatic events they bear witness to on daily basis – from gunshot wounds to stabbings, drownings and motor vehicle accidents. The documentary also shows how these doctors manage to stay awake and on top of things during the endless shifts they work – often more than 30 hours in hospitals that are as severely understaffed as they are overcrowded.
During filming, Wahl worked closely with a group of five junior doctors and the result was a documentary that provides an honest view of the challenges faced by the 5 000 junior doctors in South Africa.
Doc-U-Mentally was released in September this year and featured at the Jozi Film Festival. It was also entered into various international film festivals including the Public Health Film Festival in the UK and the Denver Film Festival in America.
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